Reassessing Recent USCCB Statements on Public Policy

USCCB Building

Many faithful Catholics know that for decades the U.S. bishops conference and its bureaucratic arm have often been criticized for their statements about public questions and issues. The statements have at times seemed to line up too readily with politically liberal positions, been overly specific, too focused on public policy solutions, and unduly restrictive of lay options. The problem was documented thirty years ago by J. Brian Benestad’s Pursuit of a Just Social Order: Policy Statements of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1966-80. To be sure, the bishops have taken a much more restrained stance since the 1980s, when the whole matter came to a head with the controversial statements on war and peace (The Challenge of Peace) and the economy (Economic Justice for All). It had been argued that the conference was too much influenced and deferential to its left-leaning staffers. There have in the last few years been encouraging changes in the USCCB’s staff, however.

Still, the positions taken by the USCCB on some leading current public questions show a need to examine more the complexity of some issues and to give sufficient emphasis to all the leading principles of Catholic social teaching and not over-embellish just certain ones.

For example, during the health care debate of 2009-10, the conference seemed to focus most of its attention on the abortion coverage issue. On one hand, this is understandable since the human life issues remain the crucial moral question of our time and the bishops no doubt remembered the strong Clinton push to include abortion in his 1993 national health insurance proposal. In a statement early in 2011 after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), the USCCB clearly indicated that it supported the law in general but opposed its final passage because of its failure to prohibit the use of public funds for abortion and its providing of subsidies for health care plans that cover elective abortion. It also lamented the lack of conscience protections and the fact that immigrant families would not be able to purchase plans in the new health care exchanges. The bishops’ support for access to decent health care for everyone in the U.S. was commendable—after all, Pope John XXIII had listed medical care as one of the components of the right to life in his encyclical Pacem in Terris (#11)—but their readiness to embrace a federal government solution was problematical.

Their moral analysis needed to go further. What about subsidiarity, one of the central principles of Catholic social teaching? In his classic formulation of that principle in Quadragesimo Anno (#79), Pope Pius XI stated that, “to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by lesser and subordinate bodies” is “a grave evil and a disturbance of right order.” Adherence to subsidiarity, then, is a moral question. While there are certainly serious problems with American health care, especially concerning costs, it can hardly be said that our relatively decentralized health care arrangements have been a failure and vast numbers are denied needed medical care. John J. Schrems of Villanova University, a leading scholarly authority on subsidiarity, says that before taking on a task, the higher or more distant unit—in health care it’s the federal government—must prove that the lower levels cannot perform it satisfactorily and that it can do better. Clearly, such a showing has not been made, and absent that the morality of the entire matter of a larger federal health care role must be called into question. It would also have been helpful to emphasize the proper relationship between subsidiarity and the principle of solidarity. Left-of-center Catholics frequently mention solidarity to defend big welfare-statist initiatives. Solidarity involves brotherhood and insuring justice for all. It does not justify the subversion of subsidiarity; these principles must both be upheld and work together. Pope John Paul II specifically criticized the welfare state in Centesimus Annus (#48-49); the principle of solidarity cannot be used to justify it.

The mention of immigrants gets us to another major public issue that requires better analysis by the bishops and their staff. If the bishops’ health care statement meant just legal immigrants, there really is no issue: they are eligible to shop for insurance on the new exchanges. Why should illegal immigrants be given this same prerogative, however? Nothing in Catholic social teaching requires that special government benefits be provided to persons who are not even citizens, much less those who have broken the law. Moreover, the statement perhaps wrongly identifies access to health care with health insurance. In fact, the ACA provides additional federal funding for community health centers that HHS concedes will now primarily serve illegal immigrants.

The USCCB’s major recent statement on immigration, Strangers No Longer, makes a number of sensible policy recommendations, such as promoting family reunification and a foreign-born worker program. However, its readiness to propose or embrace specific policy proposals at all—as opposed to focusing on opposing the ones which collide with Catholic teaching—may be problematical, since there can be a large range of morally acceptable policy approaches. These are mostly matters of prudential judgment. As the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church states, it is not the Church’s prerogative “to enter into questions of the merit of political programmes, except as concerns their religious or moral implications” (#424).

The statement echoes well what Pope Benedict said in 2008 about the need to address economic problems within countries in order to eliminate the need of their people to migrate. However, at its website the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, incredibly, laid the responsibility for accomplishing this squarely on the U.S.:Congress should examine the root causes of migration, such as under-development and poverty in sending countries, and seek long-term solutions.” What authority, obligation, right, or even capability does the U.S. Congress have to try to solve what may be deep-seated or even intractable problems in other countries? Don’t these countries’ own political and economic leaders bear the basic responsibility for that? It is also troubling that neither Strangers No Longer nor the website hold illegal immigrants blameworthy for violating the immigration laws which, while in need of improvement, cannot be called simply unjust. Even though the Church consistently emphasizes the importance of the rule of law, there is no concern expressed that the massive influx of illegal immigrants and a lax response damages the rule of law.

Another subject is minimum wage laws. The bishops’ support for minimum wage increases is decades old, but support for a federal minimum wage specifically may be problematical in light, again, of subsidiarity. Some argue that economic conditions vary considerably around the country and so, if legislating a minimum wage is indicated, it is perhaps best handled at the state level or it should be allowed to vary according to local conditions. The website of the USCCB’s Justice, Peace, and Economic Development Department at least mentions one of the usual criticisms of raising the minimum wage that it results in jobs being eliminated by employers, but then quickly dismisses it. It also doesn’t address the important issue of the effect of minimum wage hikes on youth unemployment levels. While I’ve never been an anti-minimum wage advocate, it is reasonable to ask if a particular policy approach, even if long-standing, may be the best one.

This suggests an even more basic question that Benestad wondered about: Does the conference still look too automatically for legislative solutions? There is no question that providing a just wage—or what since John Paul II has been called a “family wage”—is a moral imperative of Catholic social teaching. Does looking so readily to government cause other solutions to be ignored? Should the Church preach more about the obligations of businessmen and corporate leaders to provide a just wage? Should the notion of economic restructuring which captivated Catholic social thinkers of an earlier era—occupational groups and the like, which would enable government to step back but in no way promoted laissez faire—be given renewed consideration? Should there be more stress on the need to shape entrepreneurial attitudes and the virtues connected with them—which were specifically commended by Centesimus Annus—to help people build themselves up economically? Should more basic economic and financial reforms be considered that would promote a truly just wage, which the website acknowledges is not at all synonymous with a minimum wage? Looking at a bigger picture, more analysis, and “thinking outside of the box” seems to be called for.

Finally, for all the USCCB’s attention to current social, economic, and political issues and concern about public policy, it seems unaware of certain serious problems. The Church is always concerned about the family, but I can recall no mention in any statement and there is nothing on the websites of any USCCB department about one of the gravest threats to the family today: the victimization of massive numbers of innocent American parents by the vague and dangerous child abuse and neglect laws and the intrusive child protective system. Normal parental behaviors are often treated as child “maltreatment,” so that family privacy is trodden upon and the law provides the basis in theory for a universal regimentation of the American family. If public policy is such a concern, the USCCB should consider calling for a re-examination of the federal Mondale Act that set this entire anti-family regime in operation. Even if this is not paid attention to by the media, commentators, and most policymakers, shouldn’t the conference be concerned about a major family issue?

Perhaps what is needed by the USCCB and its bureaucracy is more—and more far-reaching—analysis of the public questions addressed, more attention to crucial public matters that are not on the radar screen, a greater awareness of the dangers of centralized governmental power and of the need to keep subsidiarity always intact, a willingness to go outside the standard current ways of viewing socio-politico-economic questions, and more sensitivity to the fact that Catholic social teaching permits a broad range for prudential judgment and that there are many acceptable policy and other approaches to insuring that its principles are realized.

Stephen M. Krason

By

Stephen M. Krason's "Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic" column appears monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) in Crisis Magazine. He is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville and co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. His is the author of several books including The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and most recently an edited volume entitled, Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013).

  • Catherine

    Thank you Dr. Krason. It has been frustrating for decades watching the USCCB apparently miss the point in their statements regarding public policy and issues. My particular concern is the family.

    “Normal parental behaviors are often treated as child “maltreatment,” so that family privacy is trodden upon and the law provides the basis in theory for a universal regimentation of the American family.”
    I believe the USCCB should act to intercept the new Federal CORE curriculum already being brought into some Catholic schools. Clean up the catechesis in Catholic schools, and then get the Catholic children in the Catholic schools (all whose parents want it; and, yes it will be expensive). With the breakdown of the family in our country, where else but in a school setting can children learn life values. Much better that they learn Christ’s Way than the State’s way. Some liberals have begun to lament publicly that they have thought of children as belonging to their parents, when in actuality they belong to society. Yikes! If we won’t bother, and the USCCB wont lead, our statist ‘society’ will soon be dictating to parents what religious values we are allowed to teach our children–even in our own homes.

    It takes a family to raise a child. Beware the village.

    • sybarite123

      Catherine, are you overstressing the role of the school in educating children? Is not the family itself that has the chief role in educating their children. If the family is lacking in leading their children to Christ and the Church, the school cannot come the rescue, except in a patchwork, undermined way. Sometimes the school takes on the role of co-educator, but this means, in fact, the superior educator, breaking the Rule of Subsidiarity. Thanks. A retired Catholic priest in Canada.

      • Catherine

        Father, I do not in any way want to interfere in subsidiarity with respect to the rights of parents. But we are Catholics all day every day, and ideally Catholic children are taught to think about how Christ wants us to do things all day, every day. In state schools, children are taught from the beginning that faith is something they have privately at home, and don’t bring it to school with you. The state takes every prerogative away from parents from breakfast, to dress, to ‘correct’ thinking on social issues. Call that a faith-free patchwork. I prefer to think of Catholic schools as the continuity of Christ-like thought and actions in the learning environment. It would be a patchwork or not a patchwork only to the extent that the Christ-like home was flawed (and, they are all flawed). But at least the child would learn that his faith is a faith for all times and all seasons.

        Even as adults it is a battle to live a Christ-like life in the work place, the shopping malls, or the sports field. I just don’t think we should send our children into the battle without the proper armor. There are generations of poorly catechized Catholics raising children. Catholic schools are what we have. They are in the parishes. Surely, that meets the Rule of Subsidiarity. They can teach the Good News to our children.

        • sybarite123

          Catherine, in Canada even our Catholic Schools are not Catholic. The majority of teachers are not practicing Catholics. I am not sure your Grade & High schools are any better than ours; American Catholic Universities are no longer Catholic. Unless you go to Stubenville where Scott Hahn is on the Faculty. But Notre Dame and the others, have been infiltrated by leftist leaning faculty right up to the Presidents of these Institutions, including very ‘successful’ priests. They really don’t care about the Directions of the Holy See. Such Instructions, according to Leftists, are anti intellectual. Our Catholic Universities are hollow institutions, and they have embraced ‘Secularism’. The Unity of Faith & Reason is now seen as a hindrance to intellectual endeavors. BTW even King Henry VIII of England saw the unity of Faith & Reason, and was given the title “Defensor Fidei” [Defender of the Faith] by the Pope. This title is still attributed to the King or Queen of England. And, horrors. Prince Charles, wants the title amended to “The Defender of Faith”, that is, any faith, when he becomes King. Pray for the long life of Queen Elizabeth! LOL. However, note that Christianity in England is virtually dead. Many Churches have been purchased by Saudi oil money and converted into Mosques. Listen to Paul Weston on You Tube. He is the leader of a new Party, whose name I forget right now. His party along with the English Defense League(EDL) want to stop the transformation of England into an Islamic State. Not kidding! Even Cameron is in denial. When the British soldier Lee Rigby was beheaded by Muslims, Cameron publically said that this brutal crime had nothing to do with Islam. This, despite the words of the murderer, that he had killed the soldier because of the Koran. I know I stray from the topic, but this retreat before Islam is indicative of the decline of Christianity in the West. And indeed, we must admit that the West is corrupt and openly immoral. It has rejected its Judeo-Christian roots. [See The Journey Home Michael Coren on You Tube.]
          BTW perhaps You Tube is the best instrument we have today to catechize Catholics who know little of Catholicism and what they can do to rectify their standing in the Church. Recently I have told a couple, both previously married, but now living common law, to start going back to Church and receive the Sacraments. The young lady replied to me, “Oh, Father I always receive Holy Communion when I go to Mass.”

          • Catherine

            I agree, Father. I only long for our bishops to TRY to clean up the catechesis in the parish schools, and get as many children whose parents will accept it, a real honest-to-His-Truth Catholic education. I hear the parents in our own parish school talking while waiting to pick up their children. I know the attitudes of which you speak…”don’t think the principle should have been fired for refusing to fire a teacher who remarried without bothering to procure an annulment; think a woman has a right to choose an abortion if she thinks it best; disagree with the Church on birthcontrol; why should I allow my dying parent to suffer. There is even a child who seems to have two moms. But every one of their children hears the Good News in religion class every day, attends mass on First Fridays and Holy days, confession at least twice during the school year, and involvement in efforts to help the poor, and each other. I know this isn’t happening in every Catholic parish. But there is an awesome evangelization effort stretching into life in the Church which gives tremendous responsibility to laypersons in the Church.There are new outreaches on the college campuses, too. Our own diocese is holding Days of Evangelization in many parishes..sending out teams of two to knock on every door in the parish, find the Catholics, and those interested in the Church and invite them home to the Church. The response has been tremendous from people just like those we’ve mentioned. It would be really helpful if the USCCB would use their God-given authority to keep the message of the Church from being blurred into secular humanistic statism.

            Father, I have enjoyed ‘talking’ to someone who understands…. God bless!

  • lifeknight

    Thank you for instruction on subsidiarity! I, like most Catholics, did not realize the Church had spoken in the past regarding such principles. I am betting a lot of bishops would benefit from your article as well.

  • Sam Scot

    “There is no question that providing a just wage—or what since John Paul II has been called a “family wage”—is a moral imperative of Catholic social teaching.”

    If the USCCB wants to be serious about the family wage, they have some great opportunities: Campaigning against what are called “anti-discrimination” laws in that amount to quotas requiring employers to hire women in preference to men, making it harder for fathers to support their families and allow their wives to be there for their children—rather than shipping kids off to day-care and public education.
    Minimum wage laws likewise discriminate against families by making it harder for children to get jobs. If an employer has to pay the “minimum wage” of an adult to a 12-year-old, instead of what his labor is worth, he’s not going to hire the kid. The opportunity will probably go unfilled. The employer loses the chance for more effectiveness in his business, and the child misses the opportunity to learn a work ethic and help support his family.

    • Sam Scot

      . . . And I forgot some other, obvious ones:
      The USCCB could campaign for enforcement of laws against illegal immigration and the hiring of illegals. Illegal immigration measurably reduces employment opportunities for the American poor. This is destructive of family life by making it harder for low-skilled men to find work and form families and support them. Competition from illegal labor also eliminates work opportunities for American youth, and drives down wages for all.
      And at the same time, the existence of welfare benefits so generous that they amount to more money than paid work is destructive of family formation, family stability, and morality among the urban and rural poor: When other taxpayers subsidize a woman and her children, who needs a husband? Overall, women in that situation become less likely to marry and to stay married. We see the results in the illegitimacy rates nationwide.
      There are consequences of that: children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to be neglected, abused, addicted to drugs, psychologically troubled, and have lower incomes and shorter lifespans. And much less likely to keep their faith. What do you say, your eminences?

      • Art Deco

        You are abutting some of the problems the social encyclicals create for faithful Catholics: they incorporate and refer to concepts that are quite difficult to operationalize.

        It sometimes seems as if the Popes were thinking along the lines of institutional practices that are seldom if ever manifest. Consider a master craftsman among the medieval burgesses: his apprentices and perhaps his journeymen as well are part of his ‘haus’. Consider also a seigneur and his peasants, bound to each other. Alternatively, consider the ecclesiastical economy whose members are paid in kind and paid in stipends unrelated to their individual productivity (but who are often under intense supervision from religious superiors). Contemporary economic relationships incorporate social relations which are comparatively partial, contingent, and evanescent. In living according to Social Teaching, are we obligated to attempt to reconstruct social relations of this kind?

        • Sam Scot

          I’m no historian, but that’s seems a brilliant question.

    • Adam__Baum

      Here’s the problem with a “just wage”: It’s never coupled with productivity, skill, effort, retention or any of the other things that go into a modern labor market.

      The idea is fine, but the application has never advanced beyond a homgeneous labor market that relies primarily on physical effort.

      When I drive through a fast-food place, and see kids screwing up orders, unable to make change or busily tapping away on their phones instead of attending to my order, I wonder if I’ve paid too much. When I see the fifty-something father of four saved from heart disease by a surgeon, who not only gave the patient his undivided attention for several hours, but the benefit of years of training and experience, I wonder if we CAN pay enough.

      • Sam Scot

        “‘just wage': It’s never coupled with productivity, skill, effort, retention or any of the other things that go into a modern labor market.”

        I agree. An honestly “just” wage incorporates all those factors. Part of justice is the marketplace value of the employee’s efforts. If the employer overpays, the rest of his company suffers, as do his customers and any contractors who work for him—who might justly have gotten more work, better pay, or a better price if the employer hadn’t overpaid this or that employee. For the state to force the employer to make such unwise decisions is unjust.

    • Alecto

      Ah, there’s that good old-fashioned Catholic misogyny for you. I love the underlying assumption that no woman is ever as good as a man.

      • Art Deco

        He said nothing remotely resembling that.

        I love your underlying assumption that fathers serve no necessary function whatsoever.

        • Alecto

          I love your underlying assumption that every woman is supported by a man.

          • Sam Scot

            I’ll state it: They support each other. And what works best for most people is that the wife is supported materially (and in other ways, of course) by her husband, especially if they have children. This is the practical reality around the world. Ask “every woman” and see what most of them say.

            • Alecto

              You cannot logically argue that men and women are individuals with rights and dignity bestowed upon them by a Creator, then argue that women are a “class” who all desire the same things and ought to be treated the same way. Typical, typical Catholic male misogyny.

              • Adam__Baum

                He said “wives”, not “women”.

                • Alecto

                  “Campaigning against what are called “anti-discrimination” laws in that amount to quotas requiring employers to hire women in preference to men…”

                  Funny, I read “women” not “wives”.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Read again.

                    “And what works best for most people is that the wife is supported materially” (

                    • Alecto

                      Was “And what works best for most people is that the wife is supported materially…” part of my quoted excerpt?

                • Alecto

                  He didn’t “say” anything, dolt. He wrote it.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Again, I thought you were done with me.

              • Sam Scot

                “argue that women are a “class” who all desire the same things and ought to be treated the same way”
                If it makes you feel better, I argue the same about men. But I don’t use the word “class,” which is Marxist clap-trap. It’s about human nature, which comes in two types: male and female.

                • Alecto

                  Change “class” to “category” or “group” or whatever gets you past your bias.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    A rose by any other name…

          • tamsin

            Well, one of the unintended consequences of family leave policies and quotas for women in the workplace (to avoid the appearance of misogyny) is that

            1. some women figure it out,
            2. take a lot of family leave, work from home, and generally abuse the system to their own family’s benefit,
            3. leaving more men than women doing the actual work back at the workplace.

            And they can’t be fired. Which looks a lot like a woman being supported by men.

            Which drives the working women who don’t abuse the system, crazy. It’s very dispiriting.

            • Alecto

              And of course you in your infinite Catholic wisdom know who abuses the system and who does not? Cuz I’ve never seen a man abuse the system to go play golf with his buds on a Friday afternoon?

              Fact is, singles support marrieds in the workplace, and that’s a fact. From healthcare to pay, to workload, it is single people against whom “family friendly” workplaces discriminate.

            • smokes

              Gynarchy based on “preferences” is a form of theft. Can this even be said in the 2013 former West?

      • Sam Scot

        Er, where is that assumption (that “no woman is ever as good as a man”)?
        Is it in the text somewhere—or is that just *your* assumption?

        • Alecto

          Sam, ever wonder what the word “implied” means? Go back and read your post. You might figure it out.

          • Adam__Baum

            There’s a difference between implied and imagined. No reasonable interpretation would support the idea that he made such an assertion. Your misandrony is showing, again.

            • Alecto

              Incorrect and inaccurate. I’m not anti-man, just anti-Catholic man.

              • Adam__Baum

                You have a long history here about complaining about men.
                Worse, they are muddled and contradictory. A couple of months ago, you were complained that men weren’t stepping up to the plate, but routinely complain that they don’t step aside to treat you as an equal.

                I get it. You are single, and bitter about it. Drop the feminist bellicosity, that could change. It took me 41 years to figure out that my advanced age bachelorhood may have been the result of “every woman I date has issues”, but the real reason was me.

                • Alecto

                  I have history complaining about treatment of women, not men. But thank you for your post, it’s so perspicacious. Coming from someone who routinely blames women for every slight, I’ll take your opinion with a grain of salt. I understand you gravitate towards Catholicism because it buttresses your perception that women ought to be second class citizens, but understand that view isn’t the prevalent one or reality.

                  Aside from that, I find your posts reflect my views on most economic subjects and are intelligent and insightful.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    It’s a Catholic website, but if that bothers you, perhaps you can troll about some Muslim website. I’m sure you’ll receive excellent treatment there. Then there’s always the opportunity to be a sister wife in Utah.

                    • Alecto

                      But, but, but… I like bashing you.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      There’s a difference between bashing and flailing. You do the latter. Would you like to see the real thing?

                    • Alecto

                      One man’s trash….

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Is still trash.

                    • Alecto

                      You ought to know.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Of course, it’s easy to recognize.

              • smokes

                We forgive you. Now, get thee behind me.

          • Sam Scot

            The emotional, anti-Catholic troll aspect of your posts I have passed over benignly, because you’ve thought many things through. The periodic intellectual laziness and cowardice is less charming.
            Intelligent discourse requires you to make your case, not just wave your hand languidly.

            • Alecto

              “Campaigning against what are called “anti-discrimination” laws in that amount to quotas requiring employers to hire women in preference to men, making it harder for fathers to support their families and allow their wives to be there for their children—rather than shipping kids off to day-care and public education.”

              There are no “anti-discrimination” laws which REQUIRE any employer to hire women. What exists are laws which require employers to give equal consideration to all applicants regardless of gender, race, creed, ethnic origin. In other words, these laws are intended to provide equal access to opportunities historically given only to white men, to make hiring “blind”. I didn’t write the laws, did not pass the laws, and without regard for the effect of the laws, that is a fair statement the current law. That you interpret these as “requiring” the employment of women denotes a bias towards women which does not exist in the law, only in your heart and mind. My assessment is an abundantly fair interpretation of your mindset.

              • Adam__Baum

                “There are no “anti-discrimination” laws which REQUIRE any employer to hire women. ”

                “That you interpret these as “requiring” the employment of women
                Don’t do much hiring, do you?”

                • Alecto

                  If you base your decisions on the gender of the applicant, you are engaging in discrimination. Defensive hiring much?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    I’ll be graded on my attention to “diversity”, and my staffing with “diverse individuals”. Everybody is a “diverse individual”, except white males without an ADA disability.

                    • Alecto

                      Is someone holding a gun to your head? If you live your life to please others, then by all means continue to seek “diversity”, score points on your grading and hire staff whom you obviously hold in low regard.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Score low points and get fired. God didn’t give me the entrepreunerial gene, so I must occasionally look for somebody in a “protected class”, whether that be sex, race, disability or some other non-merit factor that advances meritocracy but considering non-merit factors.

                      Funny thing. Nursing is 90% plus female, but while my wife’s hospital is making extraordinary efforts at recruiting “non-traditional candidates”, they don’t recruit that most non-traditional nurse, the male.

                      Diversity is a double-speak advanced by the state.

                    • Alecto
                    • Adam__Baum

                      “Sam and Adam, you have not rebutted anything I’ve written.”

                      Nothing rebuts blind rage.

                      “at its heart diminishes and denigrates women and everything you post is drawn from the well that is tainted with bias, and foregone conclusions about women. ”

                      This is the same Church that venerates a woman as the only ordinary person conceived withot sin, and at times when the civil law treated women as chattel, counted women among it’s most learned.

                      Bias? This wasn’t even a discussion about the sexes, you imputed it where it didn’t exist.

                      I’m not sure what cup of idolatry you imbibe from, but it’s clearly an embittering brew. I wonder when your are old and alone, and your days in finance are gone, will it comfort you when the nurse comes to clean your diaper or more likely, the death panel dispatches you quietly into the next realm.

                    • Alecto

                      Oh please, now you just sound bitter. “Blind rage”? Really? Nothing like a little old-fashioned hyperbole to mischaracterize disagreement or dissension as “rage”.

                      Here’s hoping your “wife” leaves you and takes everything.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      The very fact that you veered off-topic shows just how blind. Not a word was mentioned about men/women and you went drew an imagined insult.
                      Have you thought about getting therapeutic intervention, I know hatred of males is fashionable, but it’s still sick.

                    • Alecto

                      OK, done with you now, Adam. You may not be a leftist, but you are a loon. An angry, petty, 18th century loon.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Oh finally. No more Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem carping?

                      Name calling, the last resort of the frustrated, (and as a lovely parting gift, I mean that in both senses of the word).

                      Would you be so kind as to stop stalking, er following me on Disqus?

                    • Alecto

                      OMG, in your paranoid delusional world, anyone who responds to a post is “stalking you”? GET OVER YOURSELF. You’re not the intelligent, literate, erudite competent you believe yourself to be!

                      Yecccchhhh!

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No, you made yourself my follower on Disqus (the only one).
                      Everybody can click on my screen name and see it, so don’t pretend it’s responding to post. If you are going to lie, do it better.
                      Remove it please.

                    • Alecto

                      An error on my part that will be rectified, egotistical POS.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “An error on my part”
                      One of many, I’m sure. Project much?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Here’s hoping your “wife” leaves you and takes everything.

                      And I wish you the same.

                    • Slainte

                      Then why are you a Roman Catholic?

                    • Kathy

                      Ad hominems? You are the one that said they are vile, vicious and moronic!!

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Is someone holding a gun to your head?
                      Figuratively yes, and yes. If I were charged with discrimination for not staffing with enough “diverse individuals”, I could lose my job, and my accounting license.
                      I guess you distrust the state and it’s machinations, unless it does your bidding.

                    • Alecto

                      Don’t blame me for your cowardice and refusal to do what you believe is right. Stop promoting yourself as some “champion” of liberty, rights or principles when you clearly won’t uphold them. Principles only matter when they’re under assault just like character reveals itself when tested.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Ever hear the phrase “choose your battles carefully” or “is that the hill you want to die on”?

                    • Alecto

                      If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then surely that kind of caution is really miksopism in disguise.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I thought you were done with me.

                      Quote:

                      “OK, done with you now, Adam. You may not be a leftist, but you are a loon. An angry, petty, 18th century loon.”

                      Do you comment so much you forget what you say or are you just a liar?

                    • Alecto

                      Done now. Your replies are minimized. And, looks like you can’t help yourself, homeboy.

                  • Purists aren’t really purists

                    Example: In the New York construction industry (which I work in) the state is required to give a certain portion of its projects to “minority or women owned businesses.” So if your business is owned by a white male, no luck. You are automatically disqualified. Whereas if you are a a female owner, then you are automatically guarenteed to beat out the male competion based on nothing else except your biological make-up.

                    • Alecto

                      Oh, please. That is such a racket. What happens is the “minority/woman” business has a front man (or woman) and those who actually do the work are men. It’s a joke. It happens all the time with federal contractors who have any number of disabled veteran required, minority or small business or hubzone requirements. You end up with Booz Allen, Lockheed or Northrop winning contracts under a small business requirement.

                    • Purists aren’t really purists

                      I absolutely agree with you Alecto. That was my point. I know businesses where there are four brothers running the company but the CEO is the grandma who hasn’t stepped foot in the shop in a decade. I also know businesses where the woman is legitimately running the show, but she shouldn’t be privileged to win all the state contracts just because she’s a she.

                    • Alecto

                      That makes two of us. My objection to Adam and Sam, is that they assume that women aren’t qualified to do anything but pop out babies and make dinner. I strongly, vehemently object to that assumption and I believe in this country, at least, people should be judged on their skills, effort and accomplishments, not their gender, race, etc….

                    • Purists aren’t really purists

                      …with the qualification that women are the only people capable of “popping out” babies, right? So we kind of need them to do that. And I think Adam’s point was a little more nuanced than you give him credit. And unless you are a radical deconstructionist who thinks the entire concept of gender roles has no basis in reality and is not good for society (i.e. mother isn’t an essential relationship to child), but rather it is an artificial concept perpetuated through a society that looks down on women, then presumably you agree with him too.

                    • smokes

                      Alecto sounds more like that radical deconstructionist. She’s no Ma Kettle.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “they assume that women aren’t qualified to do anything but pop out babies and make dinner. ”
                      Hardly the case, and I would hope that as long as you maintain your hatred of men, you don’t “pop out” any babies. I’m sure you are quite good at finance, though.

                    • Alecto

                      You are so vile and vicious, you are a good Catholic.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Terrific. You feel quite at liberty to make a comment that Catholics are as familiar with liberty as Stalin is with restraint and then hurl this charge?
                      Laughable.

                    • Alecto

                      non sequitur…moronic.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      On the contrary, it does follow. Your comment was the very exemplification of vile and vicious. So much for being done with me.

                    • smokes

                      American woman hasn’t been able to “pop out babies” in generations. That’s why we have to import tens of millions of people from other lands. American Woman has lost her way in nature. it’s happening in Europe, too, as Western Civilization collapses.

              • smokes

                When a hiring agency skips from number 1 to no. 27 to find a “female” to hire, it’s discrimination. When the women is No.1 and the employer goes to No. 27 to hire the man, that’s discrimination. The later never happens.

    • Alecto

      Of course never mentioned is the massive tax burden on every single person in this society, to subsidize “victim” or “preference” groups. And, if you’re being honest, which I no longer expect, one of the favorite buzzwords is “middle class families”. I’m sick and tired of subsidizing you, your healthcare, your kids’ education, your retirement, etc…. Pay your own damn way!

      • tamsin

        chill.

  • publiusnj

    The USCCB needs never to forget that the Democrat Party is the party of abortion, euthanasia, amorality and gay marriage; the Republicans are nominally against those things, at least. The Republicans though are given little reason though to go after “the Catholic Vote” because Catholics unlike more homogeneous groups split their votes so much. Although Catholics are a huge group, say 25% of the electorate, they have little impact on a national election because they divide their votes 12.5%-12.5% between the two parties. A much smaller group, say Jews with 4% of the electorate, has a much larger impact because their votes go 2.8%-1.2% in favor of the Democrats; thus a 1.6% net add for Democrats.. Likewise, Blacks though just 14% of the elctorate or so, weigh far more heavily in politicians calculi because they vote so disproportionately Democrat (13.3%-0.7%); thus a net 12.6% add for Democrats. Together, Jews and Blacks, though representing a smaller part of the electorate (18%) give Democrats a net 14.2% benefit, while the Catholic vote gives no one any discernable majority. So, the real problem is that Catholics split their votes and feed almost half of them to the Party of Abortion, sometimes because the USCCB chides Republicans even more loudly on things like Immigration than it does Democrats on Abortion. Democrats are stone-deaf to any chiding on Abortion, of course.

    • Adam__Baum

      Abortion is their sacrament and fools don’t understand that Obamacare is the weekly collection.

      • smokes

        Can one morally be a Catholic and a member of the Democrat Party?

        I don’t think so. Remember when the German bishops excommunicated any Catholic who supported the Nazi Party?

  • John O’Neill

    It was once noted that the majority of employees working for the USCCB tend to be ex priests and ex nuns who have an animus against orthodoxy and the magisterium. Hence they become preoccupied with Leftists causes and how they can use the funds of Catholics to finance their favorite cause of the week. It is also noted that the majority of bishops come from the Irish Catholic community that has been in bed with the democrat party for a long time even more so since the Kennedy dynasty. So there does not seem to be much hope that the USCCB will ever speak out on the major moral issues of the day since it is too busy following the orders of the DNC.

    • NE-Catholic

      Thank you Mr. O’Neill. The USCCB and its policies appear to be mere extensions of left-liberal ‘progressives’ and have little to do with helping to advance and support the tenants of the Catholic faith. They also seem to be all too ready to point their fingers of accusation at those in society that concentrate on driving the growth of the economy and job creation than those that facilitate fatherless families, abused children and the growth of the abortion industry.

      The hypocrisy of the existing majority ‘Catholic’ infrastructure that provides payment for abortions (the Diocese of New York city – comes immediately to mind) – to their unionized staff sort and participates in collegial dinners and celebration with aggressively pro-abortionists such as senator Shaheen of NH, Pelosi, Obama, Biden, etc., etc. etc. hardly lends credence to the voices of the very few that actually speak against these grave sins.

    • John200

      One additional point to help nail down your thesis:

      The employees of the USCCB are worth nothing on the open market, and they know it. Ex-nuns, ex-priests, they are probably kooks, and a normal employer would not touch them.

      Fear is a powerful motivator.

  • john

    I think the USCCB’s most grievous mistake has been to automatically support the State as the only institution capable of correcting various social injustices (many of which, Krason rightly points out here, exceed the State’s geographical jurisdiction, let alone its moral jurisdiction.) As we saw with the USCCB’s flaccid attempt to resist the Obamacare bill in “its final passage” and more recent, if equally futile, attempts to stop the contraceptive mandate, selecting to ally itself with the State made the USCCB appear quite the useful idiot. Worse, it gave the pseudo-Catholics in all 3 branches of the American government the chance to trumpet their supposed adherence to Catholic values (which was useful to them), while ignoring or disregarding those faint caveats and “excuse me’s” coming from the Bishops. The USCCB should know by now that they’re being played. Therefore, they should reject the idea that the welfare state is the proper–the ONLY–means to social justice, and work instead on the consciences of Catholic workers, employers, doctors and nurses, and families. In other words, social justice comes first from the hearts of the people, through Christ’s Church. It is not the gift of the State. That may solve the subsidiarity problem, as well.

    • Adam__Baum

      Bravo.

      I’m going to go farther. I suspect that there are not only wolves among the sheep, but among the sheperds (Mahoney and Bernardin come to mind).

      Worse, I’m not sure what purpose the USCCB serves. An episcopal bureacracy is still a bureacracy, replete with all of the groupthink and mission drift that entails.
      Over the weekend I caught the tail end of some USCCB committtee pronouncement on Labor Day, with the normal egalitarian fantasies and the claim that the these fantasies are attainable with “bold action”.

      Clearly, there remains a problem of faith in the strange god of the administrative superstate among some in the USCCB.

    • Jason Winchester

      This is what happens when you ignore the principle of Subsidiarity in any meaningful way when it comes to Social Doctrine. Try to find it in the USCCB Catechism. Its barely there. But sure enough, the ridiculous “Economic Justice for All” is cited.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    I ask one simple question: “Where is the evidence that the USCCB has been successful in evangelizing the culture?” Unless there is clear-cut evidence in very specific terms, then one should conclude that they are spending the resources of the Church on matters not relevant to the mission of the Church. Note that I am not saying that the matters they concern themselves with are not relevant. They are just not relevant to the mission of the Church. Is there evidence that the minds and hearts of the culture are being converted to those of the Gospel? If not, no matter how humane their efforts might be, they simply are misplaced.

    So, show me the beef!

    • Adam__Baum

      Amen, Deacon.

    • John200

      Precisely.

      Got ‘em, Deacon. I do admire good shooting.

    • Kathy

      More than evangelizing the culture, I think the USCCB is a mere reflection of the cultural mess we see all around us.

    • Jason Winchester

      Bingo!

  • Alan Lille

    As Mr. Krason fails to mention, the Church does not interpret the social doctrine through the eyes of post-Enlightenment liberalism. He also fails to mention the very strong current in traditional Catholic moral theology for the very positive role of what Aquinas referred to as the “public authority” for the defense and promotion of the common good of civil society. This does not imply statism but it certainly does not baptize the neo-liberalism that Mr. Krason believes is somehow compatible with the Church’s worldview. Mr. Krason’s analysis also fails to tie theory with praxis. It seems Mr. Krason has selective vision and has simply overlooked the scholastic tradition of the Church.

    • Adam__Baum

      Somehow I don’t think that if Aquinas could imagine indoor plumbing, he’d imagine that the “common good” was having the “public authority” dictate trivial details of the porcelain throne.

  • Watosh

    The richest country in the world, the U.S., ranked twenty-fourth in the world for life expectancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the U.S. as thirty-second in the world in terms of equal distribution of health care among its citizens. In terms of fairness of financial contribution the U.S. ranked fifty-fourth. In an overall rating of the performance of each nation WHO came up with French health care system was rated the first in the world–and the U.S, thirty-seventh.The commonwealth Fund, a private research organization based in New York that carries out comparative studies on health care systems concluded in 2006, “The U.S.ealth System is not the best on quality of health care, nor is it a leader in health information technology.” regarding the infant mortality rates of various countries, the U.S. ranked tenth, just below Cuba. We are at the very top of the charts well ahead of the other countries in health care expenditure as a percentage of GDP. American economists estimate that one third of our expenditure for health care goes for administration costs.

    Of course the U.S. actually consists of many large classes, and the picture for the upper classes is much better than it is for the poorer classes. It has been reported that a quarter of the foreclosures in the recent years have been caused by medical expenses for people who even had health insurance.

    And by the way the T. R. Reid points out in his book, “The Healing of America,” most national health care systems used by other major countries are not “socialized.” In Germany for example, private insurance companies administer their national health care system.

    So much for the pleasant bromide circulated among the citizens of this enlightened country, that we have the best health care system in the world. If you have money and a good a good health insurance from your employer, those employers who still provide health care insurance, yes, our health care system is pretty good.

    We do have a problem with coming up with a system of health care that covers all our citizens and does not cost an arm and a leg. Obamacare is not the answer. Obamacare is a very bad bill for many, many reasons. But it does extend some insurance coverage to those who have pre-existing medical conditions and those too poor to buy health insurance.

    Our problem in extending health care for all citizens is that a good many of us rightly do not want to cover abortions in this country, yet there are many,maybe even a majority who want abortions included in health care coverage. The position of many Catholics, and most conservative Catholics then is to be against any extension of health care for everyone since they usually include coverage of abortion. So we become against any scheme to provide better health coverage for all. We want to standpat with this very expensive system that among other things enriches the health care industry. Of course many other more liberal Catholics, as befits good citizens of a secular democracy wherein the majority’s wishes are paramount, go along with abortion coverage in any health system. But we, who are against abortion coverage, oppose any bill to widen coverage and we appear to be obstructionists, and worse we generally get outvoted and lose. It is a problem, but I wonder if we conservatives would offer our support to some form of national heath insurance, and as T.R. Reid points out in his book, there are many varieties to model after that are in place in other developed countries, as long as it does not cover abortion, sterilization or sex change operations, could we gain enough support to implement such a scheme. Personally, I doubt it, as the liberal idea that the people should be allowed to do whatever they want to do is very strong in this country as we indoctrinate our children in this from day one, and advertise this as one of the American virtues, but at least we would not appear to be motivated by Ayn Randian principles. It is a problem, I will readily admit, but the idea that “we,” when you consider all Americans including the poor, have the best health care system in the world, is simply an unjustified bromide calculated to soothe the people.

    • Adam__Baum

      “most national health care systems used by other major countries are not “socialized.” In Germany for example, private insurance companies administer their national health care system.”

      It would be difficult to refute a post as long, tedious and errant as this one, so I’m going to address this simple quote.

      Bluntly, it’s nonsense. The fact that the central government works through private bureaucrats, rather than government employees to direct the provision of goods and services may not meet some arbitrary definition of “socialized”, but it doesn’t change it’s essential character of the system, which is centralized direction, and political calculus to direct the production and consumption of private goods.

      The extension of your and Reid’s thinking would have exhonerated Hitler from the charge of being a socialist (nazi=National SOCIALIST) because he used a private manufacturers to build the “people’s car” aka the Volkswagen.
      As an aside, before you respond with some bloviate about healthcare being a public good, you better look up the definition of public good, because a public good is not something you creatures of the left imagine it to be.

      • Art Deco

        Bluntly, it’s nonsense. The fact that the central government works
        through private bureaucrats, rather than government employees to direct
        the provision of goods and services may not meet some arbitrary
        definition of “socialized”, but it doesn’t change it’s essential
        character of the system, which is centralized direction, and political
        calculus to direct the production and consumption of private goods.

        Rubbish. Socialization of costs and redistributive taxation are not equivalent to central planning or provision through public agency. The one redistributes consumer’s purchasing power (which has an impact on allocation decisions) while the other makes the allocation decisions (which ration through queues or death panels).

        There is a reason there is antic opposition to the use of school vouchers in this country. Removal of allocation decisions from public agencies injures the vocational and ideological interests of certain actors.

        • Adam__Baum

          Your response is rubbish.

          Not only are “socialization of costs” and “redistributive taxation” are not only the equivalent of central planning, it’s the preferred method, because it develops dependent constituencies and salves the ignorant. That’s exactly why there is “antic” opposition to vouchers-because the state uses a private organization (the education union) to do its bidding.

          It is stealth socialism. There’s a reason why the left has always promoted redistributive taxation

          Check definition 2.
          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialized?s=t

          • Watosh

            Oh yes redistributive tax is a socialist scheme to take away the money that those who divide up the profits earned by the people in a corporation and decide that the lion’s share of the profits go to them and the workers get what is left so it is patently unfair to take away money that from those who took away money from the workers. Are the salaries of these CEO’s a result of some sacred formula that can not be questioned as to the fairness? But all this socialist and right and left blathering beside, the facts are there that the nations that practice the greatest redistributive taxation turn out to be the richest and most prosperous on the whole. but these are only empirical facts. For those who are against government taxes, the place to go is the Republic of the Congo where I understand tax rates are very, very low.

            • Adam__Baum

              “Are the salaries of these CEO’s a result of some sacred formula that can not be questioned as to the fairness?”

              It’s none of your business what anybody who isn’t working for you makes. You want to pay a CEO less, fine-buy stock, enough to get on the compensation committee and do it your way.

              Funny how you don’t care about what the people in Washington make or how, on upper middle class salaries they become multi-millionaires by trading inside knowledge.

              You can’t even keep your story straight. In the post above, you saw the U/S. is the richest country, now you say other contries are the richest.

              I will not worship your god the state, idolater.

              • Watosh

                Adam, my friend, you are making me lose my irrational faith in the efficacy of rational discourse. Whatever it is you have got, you have got it bad, I fear. I understand thought the temptation to resort to personal attacks when you lack an effective reply. That cam make a person lose their cool.

                • Watosh

                  Oh and to clarify for you, the U.S. is considered the richest country in the popular press, and we do have probably the most billionaires who then boost the country’s overall wealth, which is why I qualified my statement that there are countries that are richer and more prosperous ON THE WHOLE. In other words hen one considers the population as a whole not one where wealth is unequally distributed. May I spell it out a little further. A country in which say 46 people each has 1 unit of wealth and the other 4 people have 200 units of wealth, may have a total wealth greater than a country in which 50 people each having 100 units of wealth, but one could legitimately argue in such a case the country in which 50 people each have 100 units of wealth is actually, ON THE WHOLE, REALLY IS THE WEALTHIER COUNTRY. I hope this allows you to better understand my argument. Now this is just an example to illustrate my point, and is offered for that purpose only.

                • Adam Baum

                  The first element of rational discourse is an understanding of the topic at hand. You have demonstrated eonomic illiteracy-and you enjoy the company of teeming millions.
                  When I point out YOUR contradictions, it is not a personal attack, but since you approach economic mattters from an emotional perspective (look how unfair this, this or this is) anything that questions your FEELINGS is personal.

          • Art Deco

            You do not know what you are talking about. I distribute Food Stamps. It is not the equivalent of central planning in agriculture. No planning board, no quotas, no credit allocations, nada. There is just a modest adjustment in the distribution of demand.

            • Adam Baum

              Actually, I’ll see your “i distribute food stamps” and raise you .
              I have a 20 plus year career in Finance, in both the public and private sectors, including auditing Medicaid and Medicare. I have an undergraduate degree in Economics, a Master’s in Finance and Accounting, am currently licensed as a CPA and have professional designations earned while in the financial services industry.
              Aside from the fact I never said SNAP (food stamps) was central planning in agriculture in an of itself, agriculture is loaded with features of central planning, both at the state and federal level. There’s tax incentives, import quotas (sugar is well known), price supports, all administered by a federal.
              Before you accuse others of ignorance, you better look in the mirror. Your “credential” is an indictment, you are the problem-a low level bureaucrat with every self-interested reason to support and defend your “massa”, part of the entrenched bureaucracy that tells us you aren’t an untrenched bureaucrat.

              • Watosh

                I believe Liberalism lead to error whenever it is embraced. The errors of Democrat Party are caused by its adoption of liberal values in regard to the area of social interactions. Where the Democrat party departs from Catholic teaching is pretty obvious to those Catholics who take their faith seriously. The United States admits of only two parties. So Catholics who take their faith seriously have only one alternative, the Republican Party. The Republican party opposes many of the Democrat Party’s harmful programs, which makes it attractive to catholics who take their faith seriously. So these Catholics enlist in the Republican Party and adopt (or swallow one might say) the Republican Party’s beliefs. The Republican Party becomes their team. These Catholics take pride in belonging to a “conservative” party rather than a party dominated by liberal thinking. They don’t realize that the Republican Party’s trumpeting of the virtues of the “free, unregulated market, is simply another result of following liberal ideals. These concepts are the end result of radical liberal thinking in the political and economic spheres that began during the “Enlightenment.” The Republican economic briefs are unabashed liberal ideals applied to economics. The U.S. Constitution is the product of liberal thinking, it is a very radical, liberal document, that we cherish, since it is an American product. Republican economic policies clash with Catholic social principles, but when it does these Catholics who take their faith seriously will defend and spout the Republican’s liberal economic dogma, rather than traditional Catholic Teaching on this subject.

                This attests to the brilliance of the liberal thinkers who came up with this system. It has split the Catholic vote. Catholics in the Democrat Party will take the positions of their party over Catholic teaching on social morality. Catholics in the Republican Party will take the positions of the Republican Party over Catholic teaching on social justice. Beautiful, the way it has innocuously succeeded to neuter the influence of the Catholic Church on the secularity of the State. People tend to pick one side in a contest and then avidly support that side. Limit the political parties to two, one of which follows liberal social ideas and the other follows liberal economic ideas. give the Catholics their vote, no problem of them using it to further Catholic positions, no chance of them forming a Catholic political party that Catholics might unite behind. This is better than denying the Catholics the vote, as was done in England after the Reformation and this doesn’t look good.

                Now as for myself I am against all forms of liberalism, including the Republican liberal economic beliefs, including those annunciated by Adam Baum, sorry Adam, but you have some very liberal beliefs, and they conflict with Catholic moral teaching. Some. like adam evidently does, feel that morality has no place in economics. This is absolutely wrong. Some hold that profit is the one and only purpose of a corporation. This is very short sighted and wrong. A corporation needs to be profitable but that is not the only purpose of a corporation according to Catholic teaching.

      • Watosh

        I guess I should have consulted scrooges definition of the public good. You recall that when our existence was threatened by Nazi Germany we relied on centralized direction to direct the production and consumption of private goods and it was successful. Are you aware that the nations like South Korea, Japan, China and Singapore all prospered under a combination of private entrepreneurship guided by government direction. Communism claims that Communism will eventually produce a heaven on earth and that is what Communism has in common with the Libertarians, who also make the same claim, that they are the one and only way. Of course to some anything a government does besides go to war, is “socialism.” But anything endeavor wherein people get together and cooperate is a form of “socialism.” “Socialism” with a capital “S” is when the government owns everything and controls everything and this is obviously evil, but that does not mean it is morally sanctioned to have a system where a few private individuals control most of the wealth and are in a position to direct the production and consumption of wealth. One more point, our options are not either to embrace the “right” or the “left.” but we have better choices such as those provided by Catholic Social teaching.

        • Adam__Baum

          It’s not the “scrooge’s definition”, it’s the definition taught in any mid-level economics textbook, but it’s very clear you’ve never cracked the binding of such a book, so you resort to poor sarcasm, rather than looking it up.

          As for your assertion that we “relied” on “centralized direction”, during WW II, it’s arguable that massive problems resulted from that “direction”. As just one example, unable to get shiny new diesels from GM as needed, railroads relied on labor intensive steam locomotives, which meant men who might have been available to work in factories or enlistment, were working in backshops and roundhouses or other efforts-and that the foundries backing boilers and frames couldn’t make tanks.

          If you are going to argue, try to at least argue from reality, not the specious nonsense of your cult of statism. You complain about “a few private individuals control most of the wealth and are in a position to direct the production and consumption of wealth” but defend that very idea as long as those individuals are government officials.

          The Ten Commandments tell us not to have “strange gods” before God, and this is the great sin of the religious left, who consistently imbues the superstate with omniscience, benevolence and incorruptability, despite massive evidence to the contrary. Have you thought about confessing your adoration of the state as a sin?

  • Alecto

    Catholic, thy name is traitor! This isn’t a religion, it’s a Marxist, taxpayer-funded welfare agency in pursuit of more dollars and control over the ordinary person’s life. Sadly, the control isn’t even for the benefit of the individual’s life or soul, it’s for the benefit of thoroughly corrupt, ossified geezers in dresses who live in opulent donated (not earned) wealth, eat, drink and play golf while they pursue little boys and embezzle church funds. Truth is, the best thing the United States could do would be to deport and expel as many Catholics as possible. That way, the Constitutional Republic would stand a chance of healing without papist treachery.

    Once again, September 8, 2013, “Amnesty Day” is Exhibit 1 in Catholicism on trial. Tell me again when that “Abortion Day” or “Same Sex Marriage Day” or “Contraception Day” occurred with the “blessing” of the dioceses? Such hypocrisy truly takes my breath away! Jesus is coming, and man, are you gonna get it.

    • Adam__Baum

      Vile and Vicious:

      “This isn’t a religion, it’s a Marxist, taxpayer-funded welfare agency in pursuit of more dollars and control over the ordinary person’s life. Sadly, the control isn’t even for the benefit of the individual’s life or soul, it’s for the benefit of thoroughly corrupt, ossified geezers in dresses who live in opulent donated (not earned) wealth, eat, drink and play golf while they pursue little boys and embezzle church funds.”

    • smokes

      That’s funny. Because American Woman cannot “pop out babies” anymore, tens of millions of Catholic immigrants are pouring into America. Poetic justice! They know how to propagate the species, too. American Woman…forgot, as the WASP all but disappears between Plymouth Rock and a hard place.

    • John200

      Sorry, Alecto, Catholicism it is a religion. In fact, it is the only religion that is true.

      The rest is dross. Thank you for denuding yourself in a public forum.

      Whatta spectacle.

  • smokes

    The USCCB, like Catholic college presidents, are a bunch of political hacks, leaning Left.

    Well said.

  • CharlesOConnell

    “The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus used to say that, when the Church is not obliged to speak, the Church is obliged not to speak; that is, when the issue at hand does not touch a fundamental moral truth that the Church is obliged to articulate vigorously in the public-policy debate, the Church’s pastors ought to leave the prudential application of principle to the laity who, according to Vatican II, are the principal evangelizers of culture, politics, and the economy. The USCCB’s habit of trying to articulate a Catholic response to a very broad range of public-policy issues undercuts this responsibility of the laity; it also tends to flatten out the bishops’ witness so that all issues become equal, which they manifestly are not.” George Weigel, “The End of the Bernardin Era”

  • hombre111

    The gold standard for all this is the summary of Church teaching on social issues, published in Rome. The bishops follow those standards. Sadly, Crisis does not.

    • Adam__Baum

      Neither does the troll masquerading as a Priest, where there is clear teaching on homosexuality, he dispenses with it, going so far as to publicly approve of two former priests living as homosexual partners.

      Be gone with you, Satan.

      • Obama_Dogeater

        Marcus Cicero:

        “A nation can survive its fools, and even the
        ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the
        gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.
        But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly
        whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of
        government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in
        accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their
        arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of
        all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in
        the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body
        politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

  • tamsin

    On a closely related note, are we comfortable with Catholic politicians using the term “federal family”? Is this helpful or harmful? Do words matter?

    • Adam__Baum

      Man she’s a freak. It mattters, and it’s typical leftist plasticization of language.

    • John200

      Of course! “Catholic” (no, they really do not follow the Catholic faith) politicians’ use of a morally idiotic term is harmful.

      Words matter if you intend to communicate with your fellow humans. Ditto grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

  • jcsmitty

    The U.S. bishops as a whole spend too much time on social justice issues and too little time on life and family issues. They dilute their influence when they pronounce on every piece of legislation that Catholics of good conscience can disagree on yet stay silent on gay marriage, contraception and abortion, e.g. The article points out correctly that the bishops are strongly aligned with the Democrat Party and look the other way on gay marriage and abortion. Sure, they give lip service to the abortion issue, but we hear nothing from the pulpit on moral issues. I heard Cardinal Dolan say fairly recently that Catholics complain when the bishops don’t speak out on their “pet” issues but I clearly got the impression he puts many issues on the same level of importance that should be left alone. The bishops are not experts on social policy and should keep quiet on issues other than “intrinsic evils.” Teach the moral law and stop trying to legislate. The latter is no ttheir job.

  • chrisinva

    Pope Francis said in Rio that he wants to get rid of the clericalism. He has also cautioned against allowing our bureaucracies to become “just another NGO.”

    If the USCCB followed those two pieces of advice, they’d fire most of the staff and rent out the space to Catholic U and the Dominican House.

    In the meantime, they should certainly stop taking government money – billions a year. The Golden Handcuffs weigh heavy on their freedom.

    • John200

      Agree 100% with your points. Remove the clericalism, and the one true Church will be infinitely better off. As a side benefit, the actions and scribblings of the USCCB would be more worthy of a body of Catholic shepherds.

      The need to reject federal government money and thereby throw off its destructive influence also applies to education, to health care, to agriculture, and to ….. ha, ha! don’t get me going.

      My point is that tossing off the central government is necessary in the USA. It will make a man of you (if it is possible to achieve that lovely outcome with you).

      If that is not possible, then you should remain on the government teat. And we should not take you seriously as a normal, thoughtful, independent, Catholic human adult.

      • chrisinva

        Your last par. doesn’t quite follow.

        This does: “That government is best which governs least.”

        • John200

          Yes, that seals it.

          I was heading along another path, but that is the conclusion.

  • Dave Smith

    The USCCB is totally irrelevant to me. And I am a practicing Catholic.

    • John200

      Brilliant — a faithful, practicing Catholic could not say it better.

      • Obama_Dogeater

        Why should he listen to a group that spews misguided socialist nonsense? The bishops need to spend more time tending their flock instead of weighing in on political issues…on the WRONG side, mostly, I might add.

        • John200

          Bammo! Another perfect shot. Again, the USCCB declares itself part of the problem, as it has been doing so for many years. Having reviewed the constitution of this august body, it is pleasant to conclude that is has no authority whatsoever. In my worst nightmare, I thought we might owe to these worthies our full assent…

          Nope! It ain’t like that. And whatta relief! Them old boys had me worried for a while there….

          Second point: I am beginning to think I am among expert marksmen at CrisisMag, and that I simply cannot shoot like you guys. OK, at least I can admire good shooting.

          The third point is a paradox: I like and admire every bishop I have met — about 7-8 total. But I do not like this USCCB-thing, and do not admire it at all. Go figure.

          • Obama_Dogeater

            My beef with the leftist bishops is that they alienate cradle conservative Catholics like me with their socialist nonsense. And, I might add…they do so at their own peril. My patience has a limit and my support of the Church shouldn’t be taken for granted.

          • Adam Baum

            Groups frequently act collectively completely in ways that don’t reflect what you would expect from individual members, especially when they meet regularly, and group pathologies begin to assert themselves.

  • smokes

    On immigration, the Conference has a point. American Woman ( including American Catholic Woman!) reproduces at less than the 2.1 children needed to sustain America, demographically. Otherwise, there would not be enough young to maintain our standard of living. We’d be like Japan, in the throes of a demographic nightmare. So, justice demands that replacements come from somewhere. it can be the Magreb or China or Mexico. Which do you prefer?

  • Obama_Dogeater

    The USCCB’s leftist policies and proclamations do more harm than good, alienating lifelong conservative Catholics who are disgusted with the takeover of the Church. No wonder the Church continues to lose members. I’ve even noticed leftist messages creeping into the prayers of the faithful read during Mass, easily recognizable by buzzwords like “living wage” and “immigrants’ rights.” Shame.

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  • AcceptingReality

    This is an excellent article Mr. Krason, thank you! I might add that the Bishops economic views, such as support for a federal minimum wage, actually undermines the people sitting in the pews who are the job creators. It’s frustrating for faithful people who work hard to run businesses which support their families and their parishes to see the USCCB support policies like that.

  • DONS

    Back in the 1980s, I asked a college professor who claimed that the bishops’ peace pastoral said that “we have a moral obligation to love and trust the Soviets” (it actually said that the bishops didn’t trust them, thanks in part to our local bishop–and JP II)
    You can desent from any Church teachings, he assured me–for instance, Humani Vitae.
    No, I don’t, I replied, and repeated the question. That’s when he turned red and started screaming about how Unchristian I was.
    It still seems to be the liberals favorite trick–either Catholics turn liberal or leave the Church. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for them.

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  • dnb03

    Is there a Republican organization within the Catholic church as, obviously, Peace and Justice is nothing more than an arm of democrat party? If so, I would like information and the opportunity to join; if not, I guess I’m going to have to start such an organization.

  • dnb03

    To the USCCB: The church may be universal, but the nation is sovereign. So glad to have found this site!

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